WILLA: The Story of Willa Cather, an American Writer
Amy Ehrlich, Illus. by Wendell Minor


In this concise biography of Willa Cather (1873–1947), Ehrlich (With a Mighty Hand) focuses on the profound impact the author’s youth had on her writing....Throughout, Ehrlich makes good use of engaging details (children “built campfires on the beach and told stories and watched the flickering stars”) and imagery (“it was as if her personality and the world she had known were being erased”)....Minor’s sepia and color paintings bring a warm sense of place to the urban and rural settings, and a timeline and appendix of female writers of Cather’s time are included.

Willa Cather’s work is seminal in describing the American experience, and her life story is emblematic of the turbulent time in which she lived and worked....Minor’s flair for nature illustrations lends itself well to Cather’s love of the prairie, while also contextualizing the narrative. Short capsule biographies of other women during Cather’s lifetime are included in the end matter and offer ideas for further reading. This biography is a captivating look at a celebrated artist and a slice of life from a time period marked by change and progress.

Ehrlich pieces together the life story of Willa Cather in this short illustrated biography....The author stresses Cather’s circumstances, her desire to escape her community’s shortsighted expectations of girls, and the importance of writing as a passion and an outlet....
Back matter includes a time line of Cather’s life and work, as well as short profiles of 15 other women writers who were her contemporaries. Minor’s watercolor paintings and drawings give readers an idyllic rendering of the American West and post–Civil War life....  An accessible biography for elementary students learning about late 19th- and early 20th-century U.S. history.

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